History

Our history shapes what we are today. Find out more about our history, mission and values.

It has been said that ‘great enterprises are not the product of large committees. They are rather the shared concept of a few minds that grasp a fundamental truth, and pursue it relentlessly to success.’

In the early 1960s, a well known Irish Physician, Professor Austin Darragh, was appalled to learn from statistics that 100 Irish people died each year from non-melanoma skin cancer.

What was really shocking was the fact that these cancers were visible and 100% curable so 100 people a year in Ireland died because they did not know what to do. They lacked the knowledge, which could have saved them from unnecessary suffering and death.

When Professor Darragh shared this fact with some friends of his, they decided to establish the ‘Irish Cancer Society’. The Society came into formal existence in 1963.

Since 1963 the Irish Cancer Society has grown into the national charity for cancer care, the leading provider of all information relating to cancer prevention, detection, treatment and support. We also advocate for improvements in cancer services and we are the largest voluntary funded of cutting edge cancer research in Ireland.

We rely on the generosity of the public for 98% of our income. Our fundraising initiatives are managed by our fundraising team and a huge base of volunteers, champions and campaigners in every corner of Ireland.